Adenosine, a purine nucleoside generated by the dephosphorylation of adenine nucleotides, is a potent endogenous physiologic and pharmacologic regulator of many functions. Adenosine was first reported to inhibit the inflammatory actions of neutrophils nearly 30 years ago and since then the role of adenosine and its receptors as feedback regulators of inflammation has been well established. Here we review the effects of adenosine, acting at its receptors, on neutrophil and monocyte/macrophage function in inflammation. Moreover, we review the role of adenosine in mediating the anti-inflammatory effects of methotrexate, the anchor drug in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
Keywords: adenosine; adenosine receptors; macrophages; monocytes; neutrophils.